UK intelligence agencies should be allowed to retain controversial intrusive powers to gather bulk communications data but ministers should be stripped of their powers to authorise surveillance warrants, according to a major report on British data law.

The 373-page report published on Thursday – A Question of Trust, by David Anderson QC – calls for government to adopt “a clean-slate” approach in legislating later this year on surveillance and interception by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies.

However, Downing Street hinted that David Cameron was unlikely to accept one of his key recommendations: shifting the power to agree to warrants from home and foreign secretaries to a proposed new judicial commissioner.

The prime minister’s spokeswoman said the authorities needed to be able “to respond quickly and effectively to threats of national security or serious crime”, which appears to suggest ministers are better positioned to do this than judges.

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